United Arab Emirates Space Agency
The United Arab Emirates Space Agency is an agency of the United Arab Emirates government responsible for the development of the country's space industry. It was created in 2014 and is responsible for developing, fostering and regulating a sustainable and world-class Space sector in the UAE.
The agency is charged with the growth of the sector through partnerships, academic programmes and investments in R&D, commercial initiatives, and driving space science research and exploration.
The UAE proposed in 2008 to establish a Pan-Arab Space Agency, as a civilian project like the European Space Agency (ESA). The Arab Science and Technology Foundation said an agency for the Middle East and North Africa already had unofficial support from some governments and hoped that a regional organisation for disseminating satellite images could form an early foundation. The agency could monitor security and environmental changes with equatorial satellites. It would not develop its own launch capability, as that was commercially available. The proposed regional agency would reduce the cost of putting satellites into orbit and pool talent and research. Plans were submitted to the region's governments and pushed for at the Global Space Technology Forum in December 2009. The UAE had already launched satellites and established an Earth Observation Space Center in Abu Dhabi. However, little progress to establish the regional agency was made after the proposal.
The United Arab Emirates Space Agency was then established in 2014 by presidential decree.
The Agency's strategic goals were announced in May 2015 and include:
- Develop and guide a world-class national space sector that supports sustainable development.
- Promote scientific research and innovation to support progress in space sciences and technologies.
- Attract and promote young Emiratis to become space scientists and technology pioneers.
- Build and enhance international cooperation and partnership to provide administrative services with high quality standards and transparency.
UAE Space Agency initiatives
The Agency is involved in directing, investing in, and promoting a number of initiatives. The UAE has launched prior to the existence of the Agency commercial satellites constructed by EADS (YahSat 1A and 1B) and Boeing (Thuraya 1, 2 and 3), as well as DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, developed as part of a technology transfer programme with South Korea's Satrec, resulting in an existing space sector investment of some $5.5 billion.
Space Science Research Centre, Al-Ain
The $27 million Al-Ain based Space Research Centre was announced on 25 May 2015. The Centre is intended as an incubator for space research, development, and innovation. It will be involved in coordinating with a number of agencies, including the Emirates Mobile Observatory.
Emirates Mars Mission
The Emirates Mars Mission is being undertaken by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, a Government of Dubai entity. As of 2015 it is preparing for the Mars Hope mission to Mars in 2020 and currently employs 75 people which the UAE government hopes to double by 2020.
Graduate degree programme in Advanced Space Science
In May 2015, an MoU was signed by Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Orbital ATK Inc to create a Degree Programme in Advanced Space Science, the first such course of study in the Middle East. These three entities, with coordination and oversight from the UAE Space Agency, will launch the academic programme at Masdar Institute.
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